Multipurpose ID system available by end-July

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2011 05:50 PM | Updated as of Jul 15 2011 07:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Social Security System (SSS) will launch a unified multipurpose identification system by the end of the month.

The new ID can also be used for Government Service Insurance System, Philhealth and Pag-ibig purposes.

SSS president Emilio de Quiros was quick to clarify that the new ID is not a national ID as only members of the four government agencies are covered. He said other agencies like LTO or NBI may eventually be included in the unified ID.

He said those who will be given the new ID are new applicants and those who have earlier applied but were not yet issued SSS IDs. Those with existing IDs need not yet apply for the unified ID as the current one will still work. If a member wants to get the new ID even if he or she has the current one, a payment of P300 will be required.

The new card, a sample of which was shown to ABS-CBN, contains a microchip and magnetic strip. These security features will enable SSS in the future to use the card for the disbursement of loans or benefits of members, serving as some sort of an ATM for members.

SSS is spending P260 per card for 29 million members of the pension fund. Some 600,000 cards will be initially released for those who had earlier applied and around 120,000 for recent applicants.

New members have welcomed the new ID, but one member who has been trying to claim her ID for nearly 2 years now said the process of releasing the new ID must be hastened. According to her, while the new ID is remarkable, it will be worthless if not released on time.